While America has enthusiastically welcomed back from foreign shores her beloved soldiers of the great war of 1917-18, she has not forgotten the heavy, debt she is under to the veterans of another great conflict, that which was waged between the North and South, and the survivors of it are cherished by the nation and the communities enriched by their presence. One of these veterans who holds the friendship and confidence of a wide circle is Edward F. Morgan of Kalispell. He was born at Plymouth, Windsor County, Vermont, April 1, 1842, a son of Isaiah and Harriet (Potter) Morgan, of English-Irish and English extraction, respectively.
Edward F. Morgan belongs to the same family as did the distinguished Revolutionary General Morgan, who as Captain Morgan won honors at Quebec when the American colonies were still under the British rule. Later on his genius for military tactics was recognized by General Washington, who raised him to the rank of general and sent him against the British commander Tarleton, who with 500 of his own troops and 500 Indians were laying waste to North Carolina and Georgia. By a series of masterly attacks General Morgan succeeded in driving the enemy out of these colonies and captured at Wilmington, Virginia, British stores which were much needed by the colonial troops. Sir Peter Parker, an uncle of the grandmother of E. P. Morgan, was an admiral in the British navy. Her aunts melted all the pewter in the neighborhood for bullets. Henry Morgan, a brother of General Morgan, was a sufferer from the Indian attacks, his family being captured by them and compelled to accompany the savages on foot during a journey of many days. Mrs. Morgan with great presence of mind managed to leave a trail behind them by dropping from time to time minute portions of her garments, and by means of this trail, Henry Morgan followed them and finally overtaking the party, aroused his wife and children, and killed the sleeping Indians, only one of them escaping him. To prevent any future attempts at. kidnaping Mr. Morgan scalped and skinned these Indians and upon his return home hung these ghastly trophies about his house as a warning of what any intruders might expect at his hands, and, needless to say, he experienced no further trouble from them.
Edward F. Morgan was only twenty-one years old when he enlisted in his country's service on October 23, 1862, in Company C, Sixteenth Vermont Volunteer Infantry, from which he was honorably discharged on October 23, 1863. On September 2, 1864 he re-enlisted in the Third Vermont Battery of Light Artillery, and remained in the service until the close of the war. He saw service at Hagerstown, on the Rappahannock, at Manassas, Petersburg, Culpeper Courthouse, Warrentown Junction and Gettysburg, and at the latter saw the Louisiana Tigers make their famous but futile charge under General Pickett, and also saw General Hancock commanding his troops near Peach Orchard. It was at Gettysburg that Mr. Morgan was severely wounded, so much so that it is a miracle he escaped alive. He was in Start's Battery, Capt. Romeo Start commanding. Shot through the arm early in the battle, he refused to leave his place, but had a piece of silk drawn through the wound to hold it together, and his arm bound up, and resumed his fighting. The breech was then shot off his gun, but he picked up another, only to have it shot from his hands. His bayonet and canteen were shot away and four bullets from his cartridge belt. His equipment was not all that suffered, for he was wounded twice across the breast, and then received a severe scalp wound, which last finally incapacitated him. In describing the latter Mr. Morgan says that the last injury made him see a million stars. During his service he was at different times under Generals Hooker, Mead and Grant. After his second discharge he returned home, but his health was impaired by his wounds and the exposure of his severe military experience, and he went to Wisconsin, where he was engaged as an engineer. Later he filed on a homestead in Cherokee County, Iowa, and developed a valuable farm from the wilderness. While a resident of Iowa he belonged to General Custer Post No. 25, Grand Army of the Republic, but later transferred to Lyon Post No. 30 of Kalispell, of which he is now adjutant and quartermaster, but at the time of its organization he was made commander, and he is very enthusiastic with relation to the Post.
On May 24, 1869, Mr. Morgan was married at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, to Miss Alice Jane Collins, born in Clayton County, Iowa, a daughter of Henry Clay and Mary Lucinda (Walker) Collins, the former of whom was born in Kentucky and the latter in Missouri. Of the six children horn to Mr. and Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Morgan was the eldest, and she came into the world in 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Morgan had four children, but only one survived infancy, their daughter Ruby Luella. She first attended school in Cherokee County, Iowa, and later in Kalispell, but her studies were interrupted on account of impaired eyesight. She is now the wife of J. M. Parsons, a ranchman of Rollins, Montana, and they have a son, Manford Morgan Parsons, who was born July 15, 1915.
After they had succeeded in developing their Iowa farm Mr. and Mrs. Morgan decided to move to Montana, and selected Kalispell as their future home. At that time it was a typical frontier settlement, but Mr. Morgan had faith in its future and has been spared to see his judgment backed up by the development here, in a great part of which he has taken an active share. Mr. Morgan came on ahead of his family, and as he was unable to secure any kind of a house for them, had a carpenter erect a small frame house for temporary occupation. Mrs. Morgan and the little daughter joined Mr. Morgan and they moved into this house before it was completed. This first house is still standing in the Morgan back yard, and is a sample of the shelter the pioneers of the town had to accept. Mr. Morgan was a mason by trade and soon had all he could attend to in brick laying and stone work, and he carried on a contracting business for some years. His life had been one of constant industry, and numerous houses at Kalispell and Creston and throughout the county attest to his skill. His fellow citizens proved their confidence in him by electing him public administrator in 1917. While in Iowa he was a justice of the peace for eight years.
Although far advanced in years, Mr. Morgan is seen every day on the streets of Kalispell, and is hale and hearty for his years and the hardships he has endured. Both he and Mrs. Morgan are held in the highest esteem, for they are the very salt of the earth, generous, sympathetic and helpful. No one is ever turned away from their hospitable door. Their hearts are always big enough to admit one more friend, and their kindly natures take pleasure in sharing the sorrows as well as the joys of their intimates.
Mr. Morgan has taken a deep interest in politics in national elections, and he has always supported the republican ticket.
Proud of his family and his American descent, Mr. Morgan cherishes many relics of earlier days, among them being a letter from Plymouth, Vermont, dated May 1, 1816. It would be difficult to find another man in this section who has done more for his country in both peace and war than Mr. Morgan, and his many experiences and good judgment make his counsel valued in his community and his advice is often sought by those who desire to benefit by his wisdom and knowledge of men and affairs.
Extracted from "Montana Its Story and Biography" Volume III; Tom Stout, editor; copyright 1921; pages 1141-1142